August 16, 2005 | By Donna Wentworth

Laura Quilter on Google Print: Don't Embrace Limits to Fair Use

As has been widely reported, Google decided last week to hit the pause button on its ambitious Google Print library project to allow publishers to opt-out of scanning. The decision has sparked considerable debate, both about the copyright questions the project raises and Google's strategy for dealing with them. Here, Laura Quilter offers an especially compelling and thoughtful response, arguing that Google should move forward and that "it just doesn't make sense for information activists/copyfighters to start downwardly limiting various users' sets of rights." We couldn't agree more.


Libraries should push fair use in the service and interests of their users, history, and humanity. But libraries are not the sole beneficiaries of fair use, nor should they be. For-profit corporations, not-for-profit corporations, heck, even tax-exempt religions — all should be able to exercise fair use broadly.

Well, Siva [Vaidhyanathan] says Google is not a library. It's true that Google is not the mom-and-apple-pie ALA version of a downtown library, complete with modern atrium and skylights for Mayoral gatherings. But I think we have to push on "library" for a bit. The Internet Archive is certainly a library. My home collection is certainly a library. (It even circulates, and I have remote storage, and I recently began a belated investment in DVDs.) Libraries may be private, semi-private, public; for- or not-for-profit; paper or digital. Why is Google not a library?

Read the whole thing.

Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

CA's @JerryBrownGov is on a roll with digital privacy. Ask him to veto SB 249 next: no chips in driver licenses!

Oct 9 @ 3:30pm

Ninth Circuit decision holding yoga uncopyrightable also shows why Oracle v. Google was wrong

Oct 9 @ 2:37pm

Our analysis of today's leaked TPP IP chapter confirms our worst fears. It's a bad deal through and through.

Oct 9 @ 2:26pm
JavaScript license information